* By a vote of 202-132, the New Hampshire House passed the state’s version of the Medicaid expansion. When the bill is signed by governor Maggie Hassan, an estimated 50,000 New Hampshirites will be newly eligible for health insurance.
* A good write-up in the Boston Globe: Scott Brown, who would like to be the next senator from New Hampshire, still won’t say whether he supports the expansion of Medicaid there. Try to make sense of this:
Asked what would happen to the people who had signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act if it were repealed, Brown said there would “obviously need to be a transition period and we would allow the states to come in with a plan that would help them” but offered no other details.
Brown did not directly answer questions about whether he supported a bill pending in the state Legislature that would use federal funds to expand Medicaid, the health care program for low-income people, in New Hampshire.
A “transition period”?
* Meanwhile, Sy Mukherjee offers a good analysis of where Scott is, or isn’t.
* The website ehealthinsurance.com reports that a high number of people signing for health care through its site are those coveted healthy young people.
* The Supreme Court heard arguments in the Hobby Lobby case, testing whether a corporation can express a religious objection to a law and therefore not have to follow it. The liberals were skeptical of Hobby Lobby, the conservatives were supportive, and America’s most powerful man, Anthony Kennedy, seemed to be leaning in Hobby Lobby’s direction.
So if you own a business and there are laws you find inconvenient, you may soon be able to just claim that following them violates your religious beliefs, and you’ll get a free pass.
* Speaking in The Hague, President Obama said, “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors — not out of strength but out of weakness.” And across Washington, a thousand neo-cons did a spit-take with their coffee.
* Alex Seitz-Wald of the National Journal has gathered the data, and the conventional wisdom is right: presidential campaigns start earlier every election.
* According to a new poll from the Post, the D.C. mayor’s race is a dead heat, with challenger Muriel Bowser surging even with embattled mayor Vincent Gray (or technically, three points ahead of him).
* Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who flushed nearly $100 million down the toilet in 2012 doing things like propping up Newt Gingrich’s farcical presidential campaign, now says that in 2016, he’s more interested in backing a winner. Interesting approach.
* Democratic Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley tells a bunch of lawyers at a fundraiser that if Republicans take over the Senate:
“You might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
That would be Chuck Grassley. Braley has since apologized.
* Donald Rumsfeld is shocked that the Obama administration hasn’t been able to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the always corrupt and increasingly unhinged Hamid Karzai. “A trained ape can get a status of forces agreement,” he told Fox News. “It does not take a genius.”
So says the man who oversaw the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the Bush administration, two of the most monumental policy disasters in American history. I mean c’mon, these things are easy!
* And the IRS has decided that Bitcoins are not actually money, but they are property. So if you sell some and make a profit, you’ll have to pay taxes on it.